Dyspnea - shortness of breath is a most common symptom for health issues reported in general practice and in hospital emergency rooms and it may be a life-threatening condition. Physicians required to report the condition using correct medical codes, and for the same they may hire trusted medical billing company.
Causes of acute dyspnea may be due to asthma, anxiety, pneumonia, blockage in respiratory system, allergy, anemia, heart failure, hypotension or low blood pressure, pulmonary embolism, collapsed lung, hiatal hernia or terminal illness and of chronic dyspnea can be caused by asthma, COPD, heart problems, obesity, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, lung conditions such as croup, traumatic lung injury, lung cancer, tuberculosis, pleurisy, pulmonary edema, pulmonary hypertension or sarcoidosis.
Cardiac conditions which cause dyspnea are cardiomyopathy, heart rhythm issues or pericarditis. Obstructive lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis may also cause breath issues. If the symptom persists, it is an indication life-threatening conditions. In a healthy person, breath issues can be the result of strenuous exercise, extreme temperatures or higher altitude.
The main symptom is labored breathing which lasts for few minutes after strenuous activity. Other symptoms are tightness in the chest, shortness of breath after exertion, rapid/shallow breathing, heart palpitations, wheezing, and coughing. Emergency medical treatment require, if the symptoms like sudden onset of severe dyspnea, chest pain, nausea or loss of ability to function appears.
Dyspnea and COVID-19
Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath is one of the symptom of COVID-19. Other symptoms are trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, inability to wake or stay awake and pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone. This symptoms can persist and quickly escalate in people with COVID-19. Dyspnea usually occurs a few days after initial infection. Those above 65 years of age, smokers, diabetic, COPD or patients with cardiovascular disease and with a compromised immune system are at a higher risk for developing dyspnea with COVID-19.
ICD-10 Codes for Reporting Dyspnea
R06 - Abnormalities of breathing
R06.0 - Dyspnea
R06.00 - Dyspnea unspecified
R06.01 - Orthopnea
R06.02 - Shortness of breath
R06.03 - Acute respiratory distress
R06.09 - Other forms of dyspnea
Early evaluation and diagnosis are necessary. Diagnosis arrived by physical examination, X-rays, CT scan, ECG, spirometry tests to measure airflow and the patient’s lung capacity or other tests to check the blood oxygen level . Line of treatment depends on the cause of dyspnea.
Medications such as bronchodilators and steroids suggested, if dyspnea is due to asthma. Patients with severe symptoms, supplemental oxygen also suggested. Infection related dyspnea is treated by antibiotics. Other medications also suggested like opiates, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and anti-anxiety drugs.
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